Nov 01

I have been reading a book by Peter Hoover called The Secret of the Strength (SOS). I have found it interesting and informative. It introduces the reader to many different Anabaptist leaders and writers, and shows what they taught on a number of different subjects.

I have to admit that, while reading through this book, I have been surprised to find judgmental and harsh attitudes that some of the leaders held towards those that disagreed with them.

In chapter 15 – On to Visibility, where the sacraments are discussed, I found examples of extreme harshness that really helped me to see myself a bit better.

Lately, (even before I realized how harsh Menno and Dirk were) I found myself toning down much of what I wrote. I have been toning down in my blog, and especially in the articles in which I have written on OTVC (One True Visible Church), and on sin-free living. Many times as I write, I have been corrected by the Lord after I had stated things in a harsh way. I would then have to go back through an article and tone things down. I have been doing the same with my posts on web forums.

Quoted below are a number of what I feel are very harsh and intolerant statements that I found in the SOS book:

“To this, Dirk Philips replied:
Something horrible is coming up like smoke from the depths of the pit to hide the brightness of the sun. This is Sebastian Franck’s teaching that the holy rites instituted by Christ are no longer important, and that they are like a baby’s things and child’s play. Franck says the visible sacraments are weak elements, and no longer necessary. . . . To this coarse blasphemy I reply: Who has ever written so shamefully of the holy rites as Sebastian Franck? Shall God permit the devil to do with the sacraments whatever he wants?

It is an unendurable blasphemy for Sebastian Franck, a scorner of God and the sacraments, to look upon the first Christians as children who played with rag dolls, while he claims to have reached spiritual manhood. As if Jesus Christ, the apostles, and the first Christians did not have the Holy Spirit because they used outward elements in connection with faith! What abominable presumption and blindness! A man contradicting Christ and rejecting his rites. What foolishness of heart!”

“Menno Simons wrote:
Do not say, as some do, “I will renounce the (state) church and idolatry, I will serve my neighbour, etc., but I do not wish to be baptized.” Oh you blind men! Do you think the Lord is pleased if you reject his counsel and Word? No. He desires obedience and not sacrifices.”

“Dirk Philips wrote:
I must warn my brothers and sisters against proud despisers of the commands of Christ — men who have no regard for baptism, which Christ himself instituted, which the apostles so earnestly practiced, and to which the holy writings give such a prominent place. The nighttime meal is of no significance to them.”

“Menno Simons wrote:
If we do not perform the nighttime meal and baptism, or if we perform them differently from what God has commanded, we have by our disobedience neither covenant nor promise. Whoever teaches you differently deceives your soul.”

This is all quoted from chapter 15 of SOS.
On to Visibility

In the quotes above, they use terms like “coarse blasphemy”, “scorner of God”, “foolishness of heart”, “blind men”, “proud despisers”, and “deceiver your soul”.

This indeed is very harsh language to use towards others that you disagree with. While I am a strong believer in baptism, I could not call others such harsh names if they disagreed with me.

The following  is a better way to write about others. The first clause is from the above quotes, and the second clause is what they could have used to convey what they were saying without appearing to be so harsh, condemning, and arrogant.

to this coarse blasphemy || to this unscriptural position
scorner of God || dishonoring to God
foolishness of heart || lacking proper judgment
blind men || not clearly understanding
proud despisers of the commands || not taking serious the commandments
deceiving your soul || leading you in a wrong way

I am seeing that these kinds of condemning statements are not proper, and even if they do not come from an arrogant heart, the statements themselves appear to be arrogant.

Arrogance — offensive display of superiority or self-importance; overbearing pride.
Arrogant — making claims or pretensions to superior importance or rights; overbearingly assuming; insolently proud:

When we are writing to others, our aim should be to correct them in meekness and love. We want to be careful that we are not more of a hindrance than a help to them. When we correct others, we want to win them, not insult them and further alienate them from what we consider the truth.

Now, I realize that Jesus and others in the New Testament used strong language towards those that were in sin – and especially those that were hypocrites – but I am referring to other professing Christians that disagree with us in what we teach.

Anyone can stir up the devil. Anyone can rail on others. But it takes wisdom to correct and point out what we consider faults in a way that will win people and not alienate them.

I have seen a lot of this being done in the writings of D.S. Warner and in the writings and preaching of the Church of God Restoration.

Those that rail on others and use disparaging language need to check their hearts for arrogance. I know this has caused me to check my heart, and the Lord revealed something to me that I did not know was there, and I have repented over it.

May God help us all to deal with our fellow Christians in a way that becomes the meek and lowly spirit of Jesus.

Here are some scriptures to meditate on concerning this issue:

1Co 4:21 What will ye? shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love, and in the spirit of meekness?

Gal 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.

Col 3:12, 13 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.

Eph 4:2, 3 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

2Ti 2:24, 25 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;

Tit 3:2 To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, showing all meekness unto all men.

Jas 3:13-17 Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him show out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.

1Pe 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

While the Bible tells us to “rebuke them that sin before all, that others also may fear” (1Tim 5:20), this does not mean that when you rebuke someone you have to use disparaging rhetoric like Menno and Dirk did.

You will not see any of this when Paul rebuked Peter (Gal 2:11-14). He said things like “he was to be blamed”, “carried away with their dissimulation”, “walked not uprightly”. This (I think) was very acceptable.

When John reproved Diotrephes for not accepting some of the brethren and casting those that did out of the congregation (3Joh 1:9, 10), the words he used were not like Menno’s or Dirk’s. The most forward thing John said was that they were “prating against us with malicious words”.

When Paul spoke of Alexander the coppersmith to Timothy, all he said was that he “did me much evil” (2Tim 4:14). He did not rail on him with the kind of rhetoric that Menno and Dirk used.

We are told to “Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him” (Pro 26:4). The reason not to answer a fool according to his folly is clearly stated as “lest thou be like unto him”. We are not to imitate a fool in the way he speaks. Fools will speak insultingly, coarsely, undignified, make personal attacks, use obscene language, be abusive, and will be full of derision, contemptuousness and mockery.

Using harsh language towards other Christians that disagree with you comes from a lack of love, a lack of understanding, or from an arrogant attitude; or perhaps from all three. May God help us all to stand free from dealing with others in a harsh manner, but rather may we show our love and concern by following the above scriptural examples.

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3 Responses to “Using Harsh Language”

  1. 1. Search Engine Optimization Says:

    Using harsh language towards anyone is prohibited.

  2. 2. Enos Miller Says:

    Anabaptists Today, The Secret of The Weakness P1

    This is being written to exhort, encourage and admonish the Anabaptist people of today, the ,Amish People, the Mennonite People,
    the Hutterite People and all People that worship the Lord as we do.

    It is written, not to offend, blame or discourage anyone of this heritage, only to point out what may be our greatest downfall through the last several centuries and to answer the cry that has arisen from our people, the search for God, the willingness for many of us to follow False Prophets if their message sounds like the solution to our inner need.

    The first thing to be addressed is the *basic righteousness that is part of the people of our heritage .
    In most Christian Churches, there is a lack of basic righteousness, divorce, remarriage, abortion, children born out of wedlock, bankruptcy, drug abuse, drunkenness, suicide , the list of unrighteousness goes on.

    It has been estimated that there are more than twenty thousand different denominations in America that consider themselves to be Christian and it is a horrible thing is that the list of unrighteousness in these churches is not much different from the world.

    The notable difference is the Anabaptist people , there is a huge contrast between our people and the rest of Christian Churches.
    Divorce, drunkenness, drug abuse happens, as does bankruptcy, etc. however it is rare, nowhere near the fifty percent that is normal in so many churches today.

    There must be a reason for this and if one asks the reason for this you will get a wide variety of answers, our “traditions“, “discipline” , our “standards”, or “communal living” , or our “simple way of life” are some of the more common answers.

    However these answers do not justify the large gap in the statistics.
    While there are no statistics available for our people, the rate of these afore mentioned sins occurs, perhaps once in five hundred, more or less, rather than the normal fifty percent.

    Is it possible that the reason for this is God?
    If one reads in history the succession of the Popes in the Roman church killed Christians by the millions, by some estimates, more than fifty million.

    Our forefathers gave their lives for the cause of Christ by the millions and most of them rejoiced to be counted worthy to suffer for His Name. Many of them sang songs of praise as they offered their lives to Him, who loved us and washed us in His own blood.
    Many of them went to the stake, or to the chopping block as we would go to a wedding, they rejoiced to give their lives for Him. As they went they had one overriding , overwhelming concern. They cared nothing for homes, farms, business, or lands.
    Their concern was for their children, the generation that would come after them their little ones would be fatherless, orphans, without the teaching and parental guidance they had provided in the past.

    And as these true soldiers of the cross gave up their lives in sacrifice to the One that had gave His for them, they called out to Him in behalf of these children. There are many letters, recorded in the Martyrs Mirror, written by these true believers that expressed these concerns.
    These concerns are also found in the songs that have been preserved for us, in the prayers that have been recorded in their prayer books.

    Is it possible that this righteousness among our people is the result of their prayers? There is no other explanation consistent with the Word of God.

    But what about the great commission in Matt. 28:18-20? What about John 20:21?
    Jesus said in Matthew 28: Go ye therefore and teach all Nations, but we have not gone!

    The history of the Mennonite people that came from Europe through Russia to the Americas provides an interesting and sad insight for us to ponder. In the middle of the sixteenth century the ruler of Russia, Catharine the Great fought and won a war with her neighbors to the west. Large amounts of new territory were conquered in the region that is now the Ukraine.

    Catharine was born and raised in Germany until she was fourteen years old and then she was moved to Russia to an arranged marriage with Peter the Great’s grandson, Peter III.
    Little Catharine was raised as a Lutheran in Germany and one of the last things her father told her before she left Russia was to never leave the faith of her fathers, Lutheran.

    However one of the first requirements of her was to convert to Orthodox , which she did, against the advise of her father. ( one could not marry royalty in that time and place without being Orthodox, the state religion in Russia.)
    She did convert and this conversion later was complete and total, her zeal for her new found religion is recorded in history and may be instrumental in her dealings with the Mennonites later in her career.

    Her complete conversion and zeal for the Orthodox may have been instrumental in her coronation as Czarress of Russia.
    When Catharine was twenty eight years old her husband was murdered and possibly because of her zeal for her church, the Orthodox Priests were some of her most loyal supporters and crowned her the ruler of Russia in spite of objections from other officials in the government.
    After fighting and winning the above mentioned war, Catharine needed people to settle and farm the land and it was this need that caused her to send ambassadors to Europe to find people to come, settle and farm the land.
    So it was that the Mennonite people were invited to come to Russia to live and farm the fertile region of the Ukraine.
    Initially two men were sent to Russia to “spy out the land” and they had a meeting with Catharine to discuss conditions of a migration to Russia to escape the persecution that had claimed so many lives.

    The Orthodox church in power in Russia at that time had broken away from the Pope in Rome and the Pope had no jurisdiction over this region.

    The two men made known that they would not come unless certain conditions were met;
    They needed promises that they would not have to serve in the Russian army, the doctrine of nonresistance was and is, very important to Anabaptists and if they were unable to obtain this promise, they would not come.
    Other requirements were their own schools, no interference from the State in the affairs of the Church.
    Catharine agreed to all these conditions and gave the head of every household one hundred sixty acres of land.

    However ( probably on the advise of the Priests) she extracted one promise in exchange from the Mennonites
    She requested, and they promised, not to evangelize the Russian people.
    What probably seemed like a small concession proved to be a great disaster for them spiritually. It is no small matter to compromise any of Jesus’ commandments!

    With typical German industriousness and sweat these Mennonites were soon wealthy to the envy of their neighbors.
    And it was these very people that they promised not to evangelize that came to steal their possessions and this Mennonite colony took up arms in self defense to protect their earthly possessions from these thieves.
    Sorrow, woe and persecution followed and during the Bolshevik Revolution much of their property was confiscated and some of them perished. Most of the rest of them escaped to Canada and later during the world wars, many of them moved to Mexico, Central America and South America, primarily because these countries were not involved in the wars.

    However the bitter harvest of the promise made in Russia did not end when they left Russia..
    These of all Anabaptist people fell into more spiritual decay then most.
    There is reported to be murder in their midst, it is estimated that up to seventy percent of the drugs smuggled across the Mexican/ American border is smuggled in by Old Colony Mennonites. There are Mennonites sitting in prisons in some of the southern states that were caught smuggling drugs into America.
    There was one small group of true believers in Russia that did not agree with the wickedness of the “ mother church”
    They came out from among her and did not follow in the sins of the Old Church and there was a limited evangelistic effort made in some of the neighboring countries and to this day this “ little church” is more spiritually alive than the mother church.

    This is a very sad testimony of a compromising church that left her first love and promised to disobey the commandments of the One who washed us in His own blood from our sins and these Mennonites keep that promise to this day.

    Many times the Forefathers could have saved their necks from the chopping block or from the stake or from some other cruel torture and death if they would have only compromised this commandment of the Lord Jesus Christ.
    The Martyrs Mirror has many accounts of men these men would have been set at liberty if they would have made the same promise these Mennonites made in Russia. One can find very few times when they were willing to be disobedient to their Redeemer and agree to remain silent. Many testimonies of these heroes of faith can be found in the pages of the Martyrs Mirror that they would rather die than to deny Jesus,than to disobey the commandments of God and remain silent as was done in Russia.

    Would God that this zeal still burned in our hearts as a people, that He and all of His commandments would be more important to us than anything else!

    The Hutterite church is another example of this compromise.
    It has been said that when this church immigrated to America several hundred years ago most evangelistic effort stopped and has never resumed.
    The spiritual decay in many of these churches is frightening , it is not unusual to see the beer truck unload much or all of his load at some of these colonies!
    In many of the Amish Churches wickedness is rampant, drunkeness, fornication, drug abuse and the love of the world do not stop with the young people, older, married church members continue to sin and exhibit no evidence of being blood washed.
    Trusting in clothes, outward things or the lack of them and old traditions as a way to merit favor with the God that said our own righteousness is as filthy rags. But there is little done to spread the gospel of Jesus anywhere.

    Jesus said, “ why do you call me Lord and do not the things that I say?”
    Jesus said in John 12 “If any man love me he will keep my commandments”

    Jesus also said in Matthew 24:14, And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
    If the Lord had only the Anabaptist churches to depend on to accomplish this, it does not appear from our current efforts, that the end will ever come!

    If we excuse ourselves by reasoning, these words were to the Disciples only, it is not for us, then much of the Bible can be likewise discounted. ( I am not an Ephesian, or a Hebrew, or a Philippian, etc. so none of those apply to me either).

    The parable of the talents found in Mathew 25 is very troublesome in light of our evangelistic efforts. (or our lack thereof.)

    The man with one talent knew his Master was a hard man, reaping where he had not sown, so he went and hid his Lord’s money in the earth, so that at His coming He might have his own. What have we done with our Lord’s money, with the riches of Christ?
    Remember, these were not unbelievers, they were His servants!

    The excuses are astonishing , “our clothes are all the testimony we need” Our way of life is a rebuke to the “ high people”
    “Every time they see one of us they are reminded of God.” the list goes on.
    If the disiples or the forefathers would have relied on these things to testify of the atoning work of Jesus where would we be?

    If one visits a cemetery it is very easy to determine the effectivness of this kind of a testimony.
    There are plenty of Millers, Bylers, Yoders, Troyers, etc. there, but what about the neighbor across the street, or right next door? What about the milk man, the bread man, the neighbors children, or the mailman?
    Have we ever testified to them of the blood of Jesus and its atoning power? Do they know from us that judgment day is coming? Do they know that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God if we are unredeemed, unrepentant, unwashed?
    What about the lost billions in foreign lands? Will we have to give an account for not telling them about Jesus?
    Are we content to allow the Great Harlot and her daughters teach them? (Revelation chapter 17)

    This narrative is not meant to sow discord or disunity in any church, nor is it meant to discourage anyone from following the Lord Jesus, only to encourage. If all of us would do the Lord’s work with the same zeal and enthusiasm as we farm or build it would be said of us, as it was in Acts 17:6-7! “These that are turning the world upside down are come hither also”

    The prophet Jeremiah cried out to God in Chapter 8:20 “the harvest is over, the summer is ended and we are not yet saved”.
    This anguished cry should be the cry of the Anabaptist people.
    Please, beloved reader, if you find this to be truth, repent and join the Reapers, if the conviction of the Holy Spirit is upon you do not delay, There is not much time left. There are millions of anguished cries from the deathbed, “ if only I had more time”.
    Please live your life to have no regrets, to say with Paul, I have fought a good fight, I have kept the faith, I have finished my course,
    Henceforth there is a crown of righteousness waiting for me.

    There can be found no testimonies of dying men or women crying from their deathbed , Oh, if I only had another farm, Oh if only I could do more work “ Oh if only I had more time to drink“, Oh if only I would have done more whoring around. Jesus said in Revelation 2:10 “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” P6
    What is your dying testimony going to be? Have you led anyone to Christ? Have you ever tried?
    It is hoped that a mighty revival will burn in our midst and we will repent from our sins and go work in His vineyard. Matt. 21:28-29.
    Jesus said I am come to kindle a fire and how I would it would already be burning!
    In I John 2:4 he says “He that saith, I know him and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” Are you an honest person, or a liar?
    Also in James 4:17 “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”

    At times, a revival does break out in our churches, people begin to pray and the zeal of our forefathers seems to come upon us but it seems to fade away and many of the people go out into the world and their latter end seems almost worse than the first. (II Peter 2:20-22)

    Many of us are looking for “THE CHURCH” and try one after another usually becoming more worldly with each move, but not finding what satisfies, many give up and join the world with all it’s lusts and sins.

    If we are sincerely seeking truth and want a future for us and for our children, let us “fall on THE STONE and be broken (Luke 20:18) and keep His commandments, all of them,
    Including the last commandment he gave us before he ascended up to heaven. (Matt 28:18-20)

    If you have a desire to work in the vinyard of the Lord and are not sure where ,or if you have any questions or comments
    write to Lakeside Christian Missions 251 Mtn. View Rd, Rexford MT 59930

  3. 3. Paul Says:

    Enos Miller, very good comment/article. I just read it.

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